One issue that’s starting to catch fire within the poker world is the possible segregation of the UK online poker market. The UK has always been one of the more lucrative markets because they have money, and their government seems tolerant to online gambling. But the way it seems now, the UK is looking to make its online poker market exclusive from the rest of the world.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because both France and Italy already have this model in place. And while you wouldn’t think that countries with 65 million and 60 million residents would make much of a dent on the worldwide poker market, their segregation has created a surprisingly successful environment.
Looking at PokerStars, they’ve done surprisingly well with both PokerStars.it (4th in online poker room traffic) and PokerStars.fr (7th in traffic). The iPoker network is another entity that’s taken well to Italy since their iPoker.it site is ranked 10th in online poker traffic. In short, exclusive poker markets in Italy and France have performed better than imagined.
This being said, you have to think that an exclusive UK player pool would do pretty well since their country is about the same size as Italy and France, plus they have a lot of online poker fanatics.
Looking at things from a broader perspective, there are pluses and minuses to regulating online poker markets. The biggest positive is that more fish are going to be encouraged to play in a system where deposits/cashouts are easily made, and where the government actually encourages play because they get tax revenue. On the downside, the world is being split from some of the best poker markets in the world, and the high stakes games will suffer as a result. After all, people with multi-million bankrolls aren’t a dime a dozen in every country.
In short, you have to take the good with the bad in these regulated online poker markets.